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    Stannie
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Missing - 12. Chapter 12: Grandfather Jon

Hey guys,

 

I'm sorry it took me so long to write another chapter, but I was busy with writing my thesis. This chapter is going to be an extra long chapter, because I'm announcing my Patreon page officially!

https://www.patreon.com/stanniestories

I'll use this site to interact with readers more and hopefully it'll make it possible to write and publish more often. Please check it out and let me know what you think!

 

Have fun reading!

Stannie

After bringing the children back to my mother, I look around for Milan. Apparently he started fishing again. "Hey," I call out.

He looks up. "Oh hey. Did you finally get rid of the kids?"

I grin. "I thought one Kai was a lot to handle, but imagine three of those boys. Damn, I feel sorry for my mother."

Milan laughs.

"So did you catch anything while I was gone?"

"Nope."

"Maybe the new couple would like some fish? They must be hungry."

Milan scrunches his forehead into a frown. "I think right now they must be getting frustrated with everyone buzzing around them, better give them some space."

"Yeah… You're right. Anyway, wonder what they've been through."

Milan reels in the line to see if there is still bait on it. Looking up he casts the line into the sea, before turning his head to look at me. "I can't imagine how it must have been all this time out there alone. Over a week or so."

"Ten days," I confirm.

He thinks about this for a moment. "Seriously? Ten days already? Holy shit!"

"I know, right. It feels like we can't have been here for over a week, stranded on an island. Yet, it seems so long ago when I was getting on that plane."

"Yeah. It's weird."

"And all this time Henry and Karen were alone in the woods. With the natives around. Must have been so scary."

Milan says nothing, simply nodding his agreement. We both stare at the wooden floater.

Life is weird, you know. You feel like you can influence the outcome in some way, as if you can make conscious choices to change the path of life, but at the same you have no control over what happens. You have to go with what god - or whatever there is - hands you. But apart from the fact I'm scared - we're all scared - life on the island isn't that bad. I'm not really worried, I guess. Yet, I do already know that this day will scar me for life. Even if we were to get rescued tomorrow, this experience will shape me.

"Ten days…" Milan says absentmindedly. "We will be world news when we are rescued." He looks at me. "We should enjoy our privacy on this island, probably will be our last. We'll be super stars!"

I laugh. "I thought about that, yeah. I can imagine some talk shows wanting to interview us, but after a few months or so everything would calm down again." We lapse into silence as we contemplate what life back in the real world would look like. I would probably have to tell the same story over and over again. "I wonder if people will keep in touch after going home."

"We could organise a yearly reunion." He smiles.

"I'd love that."

Milan looks like he's deep in thought: "Do you want to get rescued?"

The question takes me off-guard. "What do you mean?"

"Do you want to get rescued?" he repeats

"I don't know. Of course I want to get rescued, like, I don't want to have to live on the island forever. But at the same time, life on the island right now is quite relaxing."

Milan nods, lost in thoughts but with a weird grin on his face.

"You know? No stress or whatever. No deadlines, no school. No need to find yourself a spot in a complex social system."

Milan snickers. "I love how I can ask a yes-no question about getting rescued and you reply with something about social systems."

I blush a little. "I'm sorry."

"No no, don't be!"

"Hey guys."

Turning around, I see Trenton standing there. "Yo. How are you?"

He smiles. "Good, actually. I tried to teach my sister some of the wood carving skills you taught me. Though maybe I shouldn't have taught her how to use a knife, now I think about it."

I laugh. "Well, if she can handle it, it's cool! We can make a huge carving in a tree or something. Like a totem pole."

"Teaching the natives on this island what a totem pole is, makes sense," Milan laughs.

I try to figure out what time it is, looking at where the sun sits in the sky. It's something I'm getting quite good at lately. I can't tell exactly what time it is, but I can get an indication. "Any idea if my mom's school is done already?"

Trenton nods. "That's how I'm here already. School's done, my brother is babysitting now."

Several people are walking around the camp. I see my mom talking to Casey over by the fireplace and Matthew, Milan's dad, pacing around his hut impatiently. I can account for almost anyone, but I can't see Kai.

"I wonder why Kai isn't here yet. Normally he he joins us immediately."

Milan shrugs. "Maybe he's playing with this new friend of his? What’s his name?"

I survey the camp. "No, Noah is running after a girl, don't know who she is though."

"Must be Pauline," Trenton says.

Frowning, I look at him. "Who's that?"

"A girl in your mom's class. She came here together with her dad, Samuel."

"You've been studying names," Milan remarks.

"Well, Samuel has been paying way too much attention to my mom lately, so I’m keeping an eye on him."

A snicker escapes my lips. "Anyway, I'm gonna look for Kai."

"Want me to come with you?" Milan asks.

"Nah, it's fine. You can try catching some fish on your own for once!"

Milan mimics looking hurt and Trenton laughs. I leave them to it and head back to the camp. Noah is still there chasing this girl. Apparently they’re having fun, you can hear their laughter through the whole little settlement. I smile to myself. It's good to have the sound of laughing kids around, they make this whole situation more bearable. I join my mom, who's talking to Rick. They're both looking up at the sky.

"You can feel the air is dry, can’t you?"

My mom nods.

"Well, those clouds up there are so-called nimbostratus clouds. They often forecast huge storms."

"But the weather is still really nice, and they seem to be really far up in the sky."

Rick nods. "That's why they are considered really treacherous. If the wind starts blowing down in coastal areas when there are nimbostratus clouds, a nice summer day can suddenly become a downpour. Within a few minutes."

I stand and listen, I see mom has noticed I'm there.

"But the wind isn't blowing down, right?"

"You're right. But you never know. It's always good to be on your guard."

Mom smiles. "I will be. Now, Ryan, what do you want?"

"If there’s gonna be a storm, we should get some containers to catch the water."

"And we should make sure our huts are waterproof," Rick says. "I bet they're not."

I laugh. "Yeah. I don't think anyone has anticipated rain."

He shrugs. "Yes, well, weather can be quite treacherous, especially in a hot climate."

"Anyway. I'm looking for Kai. Have you seen him?"

My mom quickly scans the camp. "No, I thought he would be with you, to be honest."

"Yes, me too. But he isn't."

"That's odd."

I nod.

"Are you going to look for him or should I?"

I shake my head. "I will, he can't be far. Thanks." Smiling, I leave them behind. Where could he be? As I wander through the camp a little aimlessly, I find myself walking to the Bachmeier's residence. Maybe he wanted to find out what the new couple had to say? But Milan's dad sends me away. "You should leave, kiddo," he says.

I hate it when adults act disparagingly towards children. We're all people, you know. You don't have to keep reminding me I'm young. I really feel bad for Milan, having to put up with this man all the time.

I check our own hut thinking that maybe Kai got tired and went for a nap? Nope. I ask around, but no one has seen the little boy. Normally he's quite noticeable, to say the least. I'm starting to become a little stressed, when Margareth notices me.

"Hey Ryan, what's wrong?"

"I'm searching for Kai. Can't find him anywhere. I'm starting to worry, actually."

She frowns, "I haven't seen him either. He wouldn't have just wandered off, would he?"

"I don't think so…But I don't know for sure."

" Strange. Where could he be?"

"That's what I'm trying to find out. I have literally no idea."

"What about his grandfather's grave?"

Surprised, I look at her. "Of course! Haven't looked over there. He must be there."

"Well, be nice to him then, Ryan. He's a young child, you know."

I frown. "I know." I thank the woman again and walk to the spot where we buried Jonathan. As I'm coming closer, I can see him sitting on the sand cross-legged. I wonder why he'd come here. Can't be for a good reason. I notice I'm becoming a little nervous as I have no clue as to how to approach him. Maybe I should just leave him be? But then the boy turns around and sees me. And I see him. His eyes are red. He looks exhausted. I can feel myself tear up as well. His laugh may be really contagious, but so is his sad face.

"Hey buddy," I say as I reach him.

"Hi." His voice is soft. It sounds like it could break at any moment, just like his heart.

Sitting down next to him in the sand and for a few minutes I stare at his grandpa's grave. The final resting place is quite sober. It's just a cross made of two sticks nailed together. I'm not even sure if Jonathan was buried on this or the other side of the cross. If it's this side, that'd mean we'd be sitting right on top of him. I have no idea what to say to Kai, but I feel like refraining from talking is the best thing to do. I, for one, always appreciate having someone around who's not saying anything when I'm sad. Just knowing you're together can be reassuring and it often brightens the mood, if only a little. I put an arm around the boy. I can feel he's trembling and there are still soft sobs every now and then. I wonder why he suddenly feels this sad.

Together we stare at the simple cross as I'm patiently tracing circles in the sand. I hear a movement behind me, so I turn to look. It's Milan. He sees me and stops dead in his tracks. He nods at me and walks away again. I love that he came to look for me and I love it even more that he understood the situation immediately. For a posh kid he is really considerate.

"I…" Kai says after a few more minutes. "Why am I always happy?" He turns to look at me. His eyes are red and his cheeks are irritated by his tears.

"What do you mean?"

"I'm supposed to be sad." He starts tearing up again. "I should be sad. This is my grandpa."

I don't say anything.

The little boy swallows. "I forgot about him. Grandpa Jon. I… How." He starts sobbing again. "I should have been here for him. Thinking about him. Crying for him."

"Hey, Kai. It's alright to be sad now."

"No! I should've been that before."

"Well, there was a lot going on. There are lots of distractions."

He moves closer to me. "He's gone," he stammers. "He… he is really… forever gone. Away. He left."

I notice I'm starting to tear up as well as I'm staring at the sticks in front of me while having his boyish voice hitting me with reality.

"I think I wanted to forget about him."

I pull him closer. "I think sometimes we have to park our sadness when there is a lot going on. So you can reach out to it whenever you have time and strength to do so, you know? You can process it at your own pace."

I can see Kai has to think about this; he doesn't reply. Five minutes later he speaks up: "what would my mom think if she knows I just ignored grandpa and went fishing with you instead? She would be so disappointed."

"You know you're my best friend, right?"

He nods and wipes a tear from his cheek.

"Well, then believe me when I say: I'm sure your mom would be proud of you. There is so much going on. And you're coping amazingly well. Better than I would, really."

His face lights up as he looks at me with those sad red eyes, "Really?"

"Yes! You're so fun to have around and you're always laughing. You make everyone in the camp much happier. Everyone here loves you! I know I do."

A smile breaks across his face, "Thanks, Ryan."

"Anytime, little bro. Now, what about we stay here a few more minutes to think about grandpa Jon, is that alright? To think about what an amazing man he was."

"Yes, he was amazing." Another tear rolls down his cheek, but he’s still smiling when he says, "I miss him, Ryan."

"There is nothing wrong with that, Kai. Once we get rescued you can grieve together with your family."

He looks up at me. "Grieve?"

"Being sad about your loss," I explain.

"Ah." And suddenly he hugs me. "Thanks for being my friend, Ryan."

"Thank you for being mine," I smile. "What about we carve a really beautiful cross for your grandpa?"

He beams. "Really?"

"Yes, it will become magnificent. Something he would be proud of."

"That'd be so cool. Thanks!"

"No worries."

The cross would become really beautiful, just like I promised the little boy. Moreover, it would become the most beautiful cross on the beach, its beauty amplified by the amount of plain crosses all around it. I think one of the reasons I wanted to go back to the island was to see whether the graves were still there. Maybe I'm afraid to feel the same as Kai did, maybe I don't want to feel like I forgot about them. Every single person who died on that island is part of me. Part of us. We should think about them, worship them like the natives worshipped their scientists. I know you don't understand this, Tom. I don't expect you to understand it. I merely ask you to accept it. Just like I don't want you to forgive me. I merely want you to remember me as if I never betrayed you. Can you do that?

"Let's go back to the camp now, alright?"

"Sure."

Getting up I help Kai to his feet. We fall into another hug. "When we get rescued, do you still want to be my brother?" he asks.

"Of course!"

"Yay!"

I wipe away the tears on his face with my shirt and together we walk back to camp. "Maybe you should go and find Milan, he was looking for you as well. He's probably fishing now. I'll be joining you shortly."

"What are you gonna do?"

"Just check on the new guys. Maybe I can help them."

He hasn’t stopped smiling. "Cool." And he runs off.

I'm glad he's not so sad anymore, it hurt to see him that way.

I get it though, so much is happening. You need moments of reflection once in a while. That's why I often wander down to the beach at night, to think about everything that's happening.

I believe it's this reflecting that has kept me sane and alive throughout the year on this island. I also think it's what helped me keep Milan alive. In some way, everyone who died on the island lost his or her sanity at some point. They made mistakes, they rushed making decisions and they forgot to take it slow. It was this encounter with Kai at his grandfather's grave that caused me to realise Kai was one of those people who didn't take time to reflect, but instead let the stress build up over time. It was this moment I learned I had to protect the boy, not only against the island and its piteous conditions, but against his own coping mechanism. If only I had suceeded, then maybe I wouldn't be writing this book right now.

"What'ya need kid?" Matthew Bachmeier asks as I approach their hut.

"I was wondering if maybe I can help you with something? I want to help the new couple out." I notice Ronnie watching us and grinning.

"We don't need you. Go play or something."

That dude is so annoying. "I can prepare some fish for them. Might be a nice change in diet after spending so much time in the forest."

He smirks. "If I want them to eat fish, I would get some."

What the… "Where?" I ask.

"You're the guy that made the fishing poles, right? Well, I'd get some from you then."

This makes me smile. "I wouldn't give them unless you asked nicely."

"You think I have to ask for those fish? I can take them if I want."

Imagine having him as dad. No wonder Ronny is the way he is. It leaves you to wonder why Milan is cool, considering all.

"That's what I thought." Milan's dad doesn't even try to hide his feeling of superiority, but his voice reveals he's getting irritated. Good.

I notice Ronnie is still watching me. He seems content, as if he thinks his father is going to get mad any moment. He could try. I already saw Margareth is right behind me, probably listening to every word being said and my mom is probably in that hut, actually trying to help the new couple.

"I'd rather throw them back in sea than give them to someone who talks with so much disdain about and to younger people. We are kids still, you're right. But you're talking about the kids that are getting your food while you're playing guard." Admitted, my rudeness surprises me a bit, but I think the thought of Milan having to put up with this guy constantly triggered my storage of impolite things to say to overflow.

"Watch your mouth, kid."

I smile unconvincingly. "Exactly what I meant. Anyway, just tell Karen and Henry they can get a nicely prepared fish if they want. I'm sure they would appreciate that."

Milan's dad makes no reply, Ronnie doesn't look too pleased either. I ignore them both and turn my attention to Milan and Kai. The two boys are sitting side by side, something which makes a nice picture. I'm so glad Milan isn't like the rest of his family.

"You shouldn't talk to my dad…" Ronny coughs as I try to walk past him. "Not like that." He coughs again.

"Why shouldn’t I? He's acting as if he's my dad. He isn't."

"He's the boss around here for a reason, kiddo."

Wow, this is insane. That guy is even younger than I am. It's so sad. "The boss?" I raise an eyebrow. "You're disconnected from reality, that's what you are."

He laughs, but it fails as he coughs even more.

"That doesn't sound too good. Maybe let Casey check it out."

Grinning slyly he replies, "It's just a cough. Only a little fag would have it checked out."

"Whatever." I shrug. "Have fun being lonely, kiddo." I turn and walk away. "Oh god, I hate your family," I sigh as I reach the fishing spot.

"They're not that bad," Milan replies without looking up.

"Why are they interfering with everything? And why does your dad constantly treat me as if I'm a kid!"

Milan looks defenseless. "I don't know. I guess because we're still kids?"

I groan. "Still no reason to treat us like that."

"I guess. But as I said, they're not that bad. They're just having difficulties getting used to this island."

Sitting down next to Kai I pull him towards me, to make sure he still feels alright after what happened this afternoon. I really want to be a brother to him, even more than I already am. I'm going to protect the little guy. "We're all having difficulties adjusting to life on the island. No need to project that onto each other." I understand Milan is trying to come up with another way to defend his parents and I realise I may be pushing things too far. "Anyway, you're right. It's difficult for all of us. I guess we're all trying to cope with it in our own way."

"Yeah."

"I'm just happy you are not laying it on us."

Milan smiles. "I'm happy you're giving me no reason to."

"I think there's a fish trying to get your bait," Kai whispers.

Milan stands up and tries to catch it by suddenly pulling the rod in. The hook flies out of the water and we can see a fish dropping down in the water again.

"Ouch, close one!"

"That was a big one!" Milan exclaims. "His lips must have torn or something."

"A shame you let it go," I remark and Kai giggles.

The boy sits down again. "Stop bullying me, you're just like my brother."

I laugh out loud. "That may be the worst insult one could give." Both Milan and Kai burst out laughing.

"About my family," Milan says after a few minutes. "This new couple is gonna sleep in our hut. We don't have that much space, however, so I was wondering if you guys have some room? So I could move to your hut for a few days until we find a new hut for the two."

"Yay, a sleepover!" Kai shouts.

I smile. "I guess that's alright. If you bring your own bedding."

"Of course. Thanks man."

"I should check with my mom first though, but I bet it's okay with her as well."

"Great."

We don’t catch any fish, but we still have fun that evening. Trenton joins us again a few hours later and I teach him some more wood carving tricks. I notice Kai is watching us closely, probably looking forward to making his grandfather's cross. He's happy again, even though I sometimes see a flash of sadness on his face, apparently he realised that being sad wouldn't help him, he has to stay strong.

I turn towards him and smile. He smiles back at me. His smile really is the best ever.

I know I keep saying this, but his smile is so contagious. I wish I could write down the effect his smile has, not only on me, but on everyone, but I can't. There simply aren't the right words for that in our language. I tried painting it once, but it never had the same effect as the real life version did. I wish you could have seen it, Tom.

"I wonder where the others who went looking for water are now," Trenton says suddenly.

I nod.

"Isn't it just weird we don't even know whether they're alive or not right now? Where they are, what they have been through these last days." A shiver runs down his spine. "Just weird."

"Yeah, it does really make you wonder," is my response. I notice Milan is looking at me, as if he's expecting a really wise comment next, but I don't know what else to say.

"But I think, in some way," Trenton continues, "we also don't know what the rest of the world is like. Maybe a nuclear war broke out or something, which is the reason we're not rescued yet. Then we'd come back to a completely destroyed world."

I quickly glance at Kai to see what his reaction is. I normally wouldn't mind speculating about these things when younger kids are around, but you know, with him being a little down today, we should be careful. He doesn't seem to mind though.

"If you're looking at the limit of possibility like that, anything can be weird," Milan says. "Ever read the article about a brain in a vat by Putnam?"

We both shake our heads. Kai shakes his as well, which I think is cute, as probably no one expected him to have read it to begin with.

"Putnam was a philosopher who tried to criticise this view of the world that says everything is a simulation. Pretty much like The Matrix, ever saw that movie?"

"Yeah, I loved it," Trenton says.

"Basically, did you ever think about the world being a simulation? What if evil aliens abducted you when you were one year old, extracted your brain and put it in a vat. Then they connected your brain to a really good computer and they simulated a world just like the real one. How would you know?"

"You can't take out my brain and keep me alive," I say. "I need blood and food."

Milan frowns. "The aliens are really advanced, they made a system that could provide blood and energy. Just look behind those practicalities, would you be able to say for sure you're not simulated?"

I think about that. "Yes, because if the world was simulated, I wouldn't be able to talk to you guys, right?"

He grins. "That's the question. What if they made a computer good and clever enough to simulate a whole human being?"

"I don't think you would know," Trenton says.

"But would it really matter?" Milan asks.

I expect him to have an answer to his own question, but apparently he hasn't. "I guess it wouldn't?" I say hesitantly. "Whether you're simulated or not, it wouldn't matter, I'm used to you guys the way you are."

"Exactly. I love that you said this! I also believe it wouldn't matter to me to find out everyone was simulated. Wouldn't make you less real."

"Then this would be like a computer game?" Kai asks.

I'm surprised he followed the conversation to this point, I even had difficulties understanding it. It's not the first time I suspect my little bro is quite the smart boy.

"Right. But, if those aliens are able to make a computer in which the simulated people are as real as they appear to you right now, it raises another question."

At this point we aren't fishing anymore. I bet there isn't any bait on our hook anymore, and if there is, the worm is probably drowned by now, so not many fish would consider eating it.

"Namely, if they managed to computationally make a living being, how would you know you're not just a simulation?" Milan continues with an even bigger grin.

I look at him in disbelief whilst I let these words slowly seep in. And all of a sudden, I fall in love with him. Is that even possible? Can you just suddenly fall in love with someone? Of course there must be this point of no return, this moment when you go from "liking someone" to "having a crush on someone", but can you really pinpoint that moment when it's happening? Still, it feels that way. I thought he was cute before, of course. And I liked his personality, or I wouldn't have befriended him, but still, I wasn't in love with him or anything.
It's this moment, while looking at his enormous grin and trying to understand his weird brain twisting, I feel my stomach rumbling. I feel this gnawing at my heart. I wanted to kiss him before, but this is much deeper. I don't even want to kiss him now, that would supersede the feeling I'm having right now. Instead, I'd rather find a better moment to kiss him, only that would qualify for the emotions I'm feeling. I try to suppress this thought. Milan could never love me back. Why would I fall in love with him over this one conversation? what's wrong with me. I know he doesn't like me. And I already knew he was smart, I knew he was considerate and I knew he was handsome. What different does this conversation make? I want to know. I don't like it when I don't understand my own emotions.

"What's wrong?" Trenton asks.

"Uh… I think I was… Just flabbergasted by this conversation, you know?" I try to laugh it off. "I never thought about it this way." I quickly glance at Milan, his grin is still huge and if I'm not imagining it, a small blush on his cheeks.

"It's a topic we could talk about for ages," Milan says.

I'd love to.

"But I guess we should head back to the camp, food will be almost done. I can already smell it."

"Yeah," Trenton gets up slowly. "I wonder if the new couple will be there."

We grab the fishing rods and my carvings and head back to the camp. "It's weird the couple only arrived today, you know? It feels so long ago already," I say.

"I was thinking the exact same thing! Days on this island seem to take forever compared to back home."

We arrive at Trenton's hut, so he says goodbye and goes inside. I sigh as I feel my legs hurt. "I'll be happy when I can finally go to bed."

"Wait, aren't we going to the rock tonight?" Milan feigns sadness.

I smile. "Maybe. I don't know. I can imagine I'll immediately fall asleep and won't wake up until tomorrow morning."

He laughs. "No problem. Been a rough day, for sure."

"What's the rock?" Kai asks.

"Nothing. Just when we can't sleep, we head over to that rock next to the sea," I say as I point towards it. "Just to stare into the ocean and talk a bit, you know?"

"I'd like to come too!"

I snicker. "I don't think that's a good idea. If I'm tired after today, I'm sure you should be even more tired. You're always so active! I think you need your sleep."

"I guess I never wake up anyway," he pouts.

We all laugh.

During dinner Oliver suddenly stands up. He has an announcement. From now on, all food is supposed to be shared. It's the property of everyone. While Oliver was lecturing the group about laws and rules, I notice Milan's dad looking at me with a huge grin. I know this is his doing, he didn't like my attitude about the fish. From now on, the fish will be for all of us. To be honest, it already was, I just didn't like him playing boss while Milan and I were doing the hard work.

"All the food we gather is to be shared evenly." Oliver is still preaching. "No one owns the food he or she gathers or catches, okay? No matter what happens, we - the leaders - are to determine who gets what."

That grin of Matthew’s is really sad, actually. He is obviously happy because he gets it his own way. He must feel like he won. Even though he tries to remind everyone constantly that I'm just a "kid" to him, he is happy about winning over a kid. How pathetic can one be. I smile back at him, making sure he knows I'm staying on the higher ground I've been on all this time. I don't care about him winning this. I never decided to fish for me, I wanted to help out the camp. I would love to share!

After the announcement we all finish our dinner in silence. Then we clean up. It's late, so I decide to go to bed. The new couple already settled down in the Bachmeier's hut, so even though I didn't ask my mom yet if Milan is allowed to sleep over, she basically has no choice. So while Milan grabs his bedding, or at least whatever he used to sleep on, I ask my mother if he was allowed to sleep at our place. Of course she accepts, though she also winks at me, causing me to blush. She used to wink at me a lot, as she already knows I kind of like Milan, but after my sudden realisation I like him a lot today, it puts me off a little more than usual. I'm blushing more than I normally would, which I think mom also saw.

Milan sets his stuff up a little away from us. Mom, Kai and I still sleep next to each other, but Milan is on the other side of out small hut, probably to get as much privacy as possible or maybe to give us some. After we went to bed, I wait a few seconds until I hear him breathing rhythmically, indicating he's asleep. Then I turn around to look at him, with both Kai's arms tightly around me.

Milan smiles in his sleep. And he snores really lightly, which I think is cute. I look at him, wondering about what his life has been like before we got stranded. I'm also trying to figure out why I suddenly feel nauseous whenever I look at him. I know it's what a teenage crush feels like, I've had it several times, but I just can't figure out why it came this randomly. It must have been this conversation about simulations. Maybe I just like the fact he's smart? I don't know. I sigh and I pull Kai's arms a little upwards towards my chest, as they were a little too close to my waist. Especially now I'm watching Milan sleep, I don't want anything weird to happen down there. I sigh again as I drag my blanket over my head, trying to think about anything other than Milan. Obviously, I'm still awake an hour or so later when I hear Milan get up and walk out of the hut, probably heading towards our rock. I think about ignoring him and finally try to get some sleep, but I don't. I can't. I know I really want to talk to him again. I have this feeling of unrest settled deep down in my guts. This feeling of butterflies, the random crush I developed all of a sudden, I know I can't be around him if it stays. It would distract me, it would basically shut me down whenever he's close to me. And there is only one way to get rid of it. After a few minutes of contemplating I silently get up.

I hope you enjoyed this chapter!

 

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Stannie

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Looks like relationships are starting to develop.

As written, the leaders look like they will be a source of dissension. They don't even try and run the place as a collective. Less than ideal!

Thanks

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Excellent chapter! The schism in the camp is beginning to form with the entitled adults appointing themselves into positions of power over everyone and dictating rules and regulations to be followed. Over time these rules will begin forming animosity and eventual rebellion and violence. Society only works when everyone is equal and does their share. I’m definitely looking forward to the next chapter! 😃❤️

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It would be natural in circumstances like these to get close to others in the same situation as you and I think that Ryan's feelings for Milan are sweet.

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